High-profile lawyer may run for N.Y. AG

By John O'Brien | Oct 16, 2009


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Trial lawyer Sean Coffey has retired from his position at a major New York firm to explore a run at state attorney general.

Coffey left Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman Friday to prepare for a campaign, though he said he will only run if current Democratic Attorney General Andrew Cuomo does not. Polls show Cuomo would be a popular choice for governor in 2010.

Coffey is known partly for his work in litigation against WorldCom during its bankruptcy proceedings. He is a former federal prosecuor and Navy captain.

I have deep affection for my colleagues and clients at Bernstein Litowitz and am exceptionally proud of the results we have achieved on behalf of defrauded investors and victims of discrimination," Coffey said, "but the pull to return to full-time public service is too strong to resist, particularly when so many critical State-wide issues must be addressed."

Bernstein Litowitz recovered more than $6 billion for investors in the WorldCom litigation, and also obtained a $217 million from the bankruptcy of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona.

Coffey called Cuomo "the person best able to tackle the enormous challenges facing our state."

"(I)f Andrew answers the call to run for governor, our state will need another strong and capable advocate to serve as our next attorney general," he added.

"I believe I can be that advocate."

Gov. David Paterson's job approval rating is at an all-time low, a poll released by Quinnipiac University in April shows.

Cuomo would defeat Paterson in next year's Democratic gubernatorial primary 61 percent to 18, the poll says. Fifty-three percent of voters also said Paterson should announce now that he won't run for election.

Coffey served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York from 1991-1995.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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